iconic perfumes: 23 posts

Estee Lauder Youth Dew : Perfume Review (New and Vintage)

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This year Estée Lauder’s first fragrance, Youth Dew, will celebrate its 60th anniversary.  Originally conceived as perfumed bath oil, it is the dowager empress of the Lauder fragrance counter, still selling briskly despite its late middle age. So formidable is it that if you only try it once every ten years, you will recognize it.

youth-dew1

Youth Dew has always been a thick and nearly viscous brew. Lauder perfumes contain sumptuous amounts of perfume oil and nowhere is this illustrated as plainly as in Youth Dew, whose 30% dosage leaves a sheen on the skin.  In today’s terms, Youth Dew is retro in the same way Opium is retro; they are both heavily spiced and heavy-lidded Orientals of a type no longer in trend. As with Opium, Youth Dew is crazily ripe with orange top notes and aldehydes bursting over its clove and cinnamon heart.

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Fragrances That Influenced Perfume History : 100 Great Perfumes Series 4 / 10

Mimosa

Series 1 :: Series 2 :: Series 3 :: Series 4 :: Series 5 :: Series 6 :: Series 7 :: Series 8 :: Series 9 :: Series 10

I am continuing the 100 Great Perfumes series that originated from the perfumery training course I designed. The next ten fragrances display a trend that would peak in the 1980s—increasingly louder fragrances. This was an American phenomenon that first was explored by Estée Lauder in her Youth Dew fragrance and that subsequently received a new interpretation with fragrances like Lagerfeld Chloé, Giorgio Beverly Hills and Christian Dior Poison. The fragrances below also highlight a new trend that would mark the 1970s—green chypres, a vibrant combination of exhilarating green notes and the earthy darkness of moss and patchouli. Where would we be today without fragrances like Chanel No 19, Estée Lauder Alliage and Clinique Aromatics Elixir?

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Fragrances That Influenced Perfume History : 100 Great Perfumes Series 3 / 10

Rosedemai

Series 1 :: Series 2 :: Series 3 :: Series 4 :: Series 5 :: Series 6 :: Series 7 :: Series 8 :: Series 9 :: Series 10

The next 10 fragrances in my 100 Great Perfumes Series encompass the launches from the 1950-60s, the decades of relative prosperity on the one hand, and of great geopolitical shifts on the other. The fragrance fashion of the time leaned towards warm, sultry blends, against which perfumer Edmond Roudnitska started to rebel by creating radiant, sheer compositions. The woody-leathery chypres became more common in both the feminine and the masculine markets, setting a trend for an austere elegance. Those were the decades that set some of the strongest trends for the future, many of which persist even today.

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Fragrances That Influenced Perfume History : 100 Great Perfumes Series 2 / 10

Jasmine

Series 1 :: Series 2 :: Series 3 :: Series 4 :: Series 5 :: Series 6 :: Series 7 :: Series 8 :: Series 9 :: Series 10

I am continuing my 100 Fragrances That Influenced Perfume History Series with a look at the next 10 great trendsetting perfumes. In this series I would also like to focus on the creators. In some cases, I want to highlight perfumers who were fascinating and flamboyant; in others, I wish to pay homage to those who not only influenced perfume trends with their work, but also broke set stereotypes, mentored a new generation of stellar perfumers or introduced new ways to think about fragrance creation. In many ways, their fragrances were also a fascinating reflection of their personalities and their predilections.

The list is in a chronological order. M indicates a fragrance intended for the masculine market.

11. Joy (Jean Patou, perfumer Henri Alméras, 1930)

Sometimes more than the perfumes themselves, it is the perfumers who are fascinating. This is definitely the case with Henri Alméras, the creator of Joy, who by all accounts was quite a character: very creative, brilliant and dashingly handsome to top it all off! Another great perfumer, Guy Robert, tells that one day he went into Alméras’ lab and found him in some distress. He showed Robert a new perfume he had made which was quite interesting. “I made a perfume to impress a beautiful blonde, and now she is gone, but I do not know how to recreate it. I did not take any notes!” exclaimed Alméras.

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Fragrances That Influenced Perfume History : 100 Great Perfumes Series 1/10

roses5

Series 1 :: Series 2 :: Series 3 :: Series 4 :: Series 5 :: Series 6 :: Series 7 :: Series 8 :: Series 9 :: Series 10

My most recent project was a compilation of feminine and masculine fragrances that influenced the course of perfume history for a perfumery training course. I decided that perhaps this list might be of interest to you. There are several criteria I used to select the 100 fragrances below: they have to be responsible for setting a new trend either due to their unique character or their novel use of a raw material and they have to be recognized as trendsetting by industry professionals, namely, perfumers.

While my list includes many legendary fragrances, it does not include every grand parfum. For instance, my list is missing Chanel Bois des Iles, Caron Nuit de Noël and Guerlain Nahéma, which are great fragrances, but their impact on the fragrance market was less profound than that of other less unique perfumes. While it is by no means a definitive list—even 100 is bound to exclude some remarkable fragrances–I hope that it provides a glimpse into the development of perfumery, from the late 19th to the early 21th centuries. With each entry, I include an explanation as to why I selected it as well as to demonstrate how its influence on the fragrance market is felt today.

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